bob McJannett

Robert William “Bob” McJannett

The beloved Bob McJannett, hot-rodder, high school dropout, speed shop business co-creator, husband, brother-in-law, boss, uncle, father, mentor, father-in-law, patron and “Pops,” pulled into the final pit stop peacefully with his sons Rob and Andy at his side on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Throughout his life, he was driven by a passion for the open road and performance vehicles. Many people think the film American Graffiti was based on Bob’s wild youth—he never confirmed or denied it, just offered to set it up on his big-screen TV. Again.

From building his first car in his parent's driveway (a ’40s Volvo) to building Performance Improvements Speed Shops with his wife Susan, Bob was always willing to share his knowledge, kindness and great sense of humour with friends, enthusiasts and the performance parts industry.

An eventual winner of many industry awards and SEMA Hall of Fame member, Bob was proudest of winning the heart of the beautiful Susan McKee, who believed in his speed shop dream enough to invest her life savings. After its success, she consented to marry him and guarantee a return on her investment!

Together, they also created a strong, collaborative network long before the internet and the Buzz Megg Friendship Club—a yearly excuse to gather, tell tall tales, drink and karaoke—plus Rob and Andy. (Not necessarily in that order.)

 Bob lived with some great rescue dogs (most recently Brock) and with the utmost integrity. He believed in supporting his employees over maximizing profits, encouraged friends and family to buy Canadian products and single-handedly spearheaded campaigns to have musicians get paid to play at his favourite local pubs.

A true renaissance man, Bob felt at home in every room he entered, whether filled with heads of Fortune 500 companies, car club members or his sons’ rowdy classmates. In fact, he has more friends than the rest of the family—Rob and Kim; Andy, Kat, Jack and Riley; Jim and Johanna; plus Bonnie and Aden—combined.

During the pandemic, he created his own social network. Bob reached out to friends far and wide that he hadn’t heard from in a while, sometimes decades. Each night, he sent lucky recipients “Your Morning Smile,” a newsletter filled with quick updates, tips and links to songs and videos he thought people would appreciate. (We all did, thank you.)

As it turns out, Bob did exactly what he wanted: love with all his heart, spend time with family and friends, drive hot rods and live independently at home for as long as possible. Like with any 82-year-old vehicle, some parts simply wore out.

Now Bob and Susan are together again, cruising around in their choice of rides.

Instead of a formal service, the family hosted a party in August 2022 to celebrate an incredible father, boss, mentor and friend. In place of flowers and checkered flags, donations were made to one of his favourite charities:

UPDATE: (Montreal, Quebec) On Saturday, November 19th, 2022, the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame hosted an evening of celebration in honour of those who have made significant achievements and contributions in the world of professional drag racing. Bob McJannett became a 2022 Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame Posthumous Inductee during the 6th annual Gala.

After Bob “retired” from P.I. (eventually down to only 5 days a week from 9-3) he was not content with having created only one dream job. So, he created a second one! He started his own automotive magazine, where he could have an outlet for his incessant hobby of taking photos of cars. The timing was not the best, just as magazine advertising was drying up, but Bob did single-handedly keep a photo lab in business for several years after everyone else switched to digital.

Here is the in-order online 2006-2019 archive of Performance in Motion - Canada's Automotive Magazine.

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